I’ve mentioned the work of Ken Burns, the great historian and documentary filmmaker, before. To me, there is no one else who comes close to him in this genre. A while back, we watched his body of work on the National Parks.

There was a couple, Margaret and Edward Gehrke, who spent every vacation traveling to, and staying in, each of the Parks. They saved their money until they could cross another off their list, and throughout all of their travels, Margaret kept a diary. Many of her diary entries served as commentary during the films and she was quite a writer. And a noticer.

I ran across some quotes I jotted down while we were watching and was struck, again, by how poignant they are. First this…

[But] to be sensible is to be commonplace. And to be commonplace is unpardonable.

I don’t know about you, but that punches me in the gut. I tend to lean toward the sensible, the safe. And that typically lands me right at status quo, where the water is calm and there are no waves rocking the boat.

Also known as commonplace.

But you know what, we’re not called to be commonplace. God’s outfitted us to be extraordinary because He made us to fill us, to live in us and through us to spread His love like a warm blanket over a cold and shivering world. He made us to dream and dream big, but not stop there. Margaret Gehrke knew this when she said…

What is life but to dream and DO? (emphasis mine)

Are you dreaming and doing, or are you, like me, kicking back in commonplace?

I know, from experience, what she felt when she stood before the Grand Canyon. She summed my own feelings up when she said…

A few things in this beautiful old world are too big to talk about. One can only weep before so supreme a spectacle of glory and of majesty.

I know she felt small because there is no way not to, and yet that vast expanse of indescribable grandeur was breathed into existence by the very One who wants to inhabit us and breath life into our dreams.

That, my friends, is what life is.

And it’s anything but commonplace, yes?


“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9 ESV

“You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16 MSG

For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 NLT

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” John 14:12 NLT

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:15-16 NLT